Fourth wave of COVID-19 taking a toll on health care workers | Loop Jamaica – Loop News Jamaica

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Tufton points to the unvaccinated, bats for them to be 'frowned' upon
As health officials on Thursday confirmed that Jamaica has entered its fourth coronavirus wave, they disclosed that health care personnel are being impacted, as a number of them are in quarantine or isolation due to exposure to the virus.
“It is to be noted that we have begun to receive notification, unfortunately, of absenteeism from the regional health authorities concerning some doctors, some nurses and other medical or clerical/administrative staff within our health facilities who have to be placed in quarantine and isolation,” said Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton.
“So, the rapid spread [from] the fourth wave is also impacting our staff. We’re monitoring that situation; it does lead and would lead to some slow down in some areas. We ask persons to be patient,” he pleaded. 
Tufton was speaking at a COVID Conversations press briefing, where Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie revealed that the island’s fourth wave of the novel coronavirus commenced around December 20.
Jamaica recorded 1,128 new COVID-19 cases up to Wednesday afternoon, a figure which, up to Thursday morning, represented the highest daily infections since the onset of the pandemic locally.
“We also have some 372 persons hospitalised; 204 positive for COVID-19 and another 168 suspected. Of those positive, 35 are moderately ill, 23 are severely ill, and three are critically ill,” Tufton said about Wednesday’s COVID statistics. 
“Thirty-two of the 35 who are moderately ill are unvaccinated, while 19 of the 23 who are severely ill are unvaccinated. All three persons who are critically ill are unvaccinated,” he added.
Noting that the majority of the individuals currently hospitalised are unvaccinated, resulting in a further impact on hospital operations, Tufton argued that those who refuse to be vaccinated should be “frowned” upon by those who have taken their doses of the vaccine.
“They [the unvaccinated] are letting us down. It is an important point, and I am sorry, I am prepared to offend by making this… point,” he declared. 
With health care workers being negatively impacted by the fourth COVID wave, Tufton reiterated that it is important for citizens to be patient.
“… If our frontline persons are affected, we have to protect them, [and] we have to get them to recover so that they can go back on the frontline,” he said.
For her part, Bisasor-McKenzie confirmed that 438 of the 738 communities across the country have confirmed COVID-19 cases, which “represents a high level of geographic spread” of the virus. 
Turning to admissions at hospitals, she shared that over the last two to three weeks, there has been an increase in the number of patients requiring hospitalisation. 
“Right now we are not seeing an increase in [COVID] deaths; that still continues to go down, even though we are seeing a small increase now of admissions and bed occupancy.
“So over the last week, we would have seen where we would have gone up to 300 to 400 beds being occupied. We were down below 200 for a little while,” she explained.
Meanwhile, the chief medical officer disclosed that the reproduction rate of COVID-19 infections is continuing to increase, with a current rate of 2.4.
At that rate, she said there could be a rapid increase in the daily number of coronavirus cases, peaking at over 1,500 by January 12.
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